Two-weight world champion Carl Frampton expects Michael Conlan to emulate his success in the ring, but says they are not on a collision course.
Conlan (6-0, 5 KOs), 26, has his seventh professional fight against Spain’s Ibon Larrinaga (10-1, 2 KOs) on the Jorge Linares-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Saturday on a card that will be streamed on ESPN+.
Frampton (25-1, 14 KOs), who out-pointed Nonito Donaire to win the WBO interim featherweight title last month, says Conlan is progressing nicely and is tipping his fellow Northern Irishman Conlan to one day rule the featherweight division like he did, but he does not expect to ever fight his friend and fellow Belfast boxer.
“I probably won’t ever fight Michael Conlan because of the stages we are at in our career,” Frampton said.
“Mick is a friend of mine, a very good fighter but I think he’s just kicking off his pro career and I’m in the twilight of mine.
“Although I’m not thinking about retirement, I’m not going to be hanging around for another six or seven years.
“With Mick, it’s a question of when he wins a world, not if. I think he’s a quality fighter, very, very skilful so it’s about when not if and how many world titles he wins.
“He’s a quality fighter and he has the height to go up through the weights and he’s being looked after by Adam Booth who is a fantastic coach.
“So he’s got the potential to win many world titles. I think there’s the potential for Mick Conlan to be a complete worldwide superstar.”
Frampton, 31, aims to regain a full world title this year after losing the WBA featherweight title on points — as well as his status as the division’s No 1 — to Leo Santa Cruz in January last year. He is hoping that he can do that at Belfast’s Windsor Park on August 18 or 25 against the winner of May 19th contest between Lee Selby, the IBF world champion, and Josh Warrington.
“I think Windsor Park in the summer, against a big name and winning a world title tops anything I’ve done in my career,” Frampton said.
“[Oscar] Valdez won’t be ready because of the jaw, but it would be an appealing fight because it would capture the public’s imagination worldwide.
“But if he’s not available then the winner of Selby-Warrington. If I’m being honest I fancy Selby, I think he’s the more polished boxer.”
Frampton is not giving up on a third fight with Santa Cruz (34-4-1, 19 KOs), who is due to defend his WBA belt against fellow Mexican Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KOs) on June 9.
“If I win a world title at Windsor, I still have the Santa Cruz fight,” Frampton said.
“It’s 1-1 and that’s the one I want, more than any other fight. He has his own fight in June which rules him out for August.
“I would love the Santa Cruz fight over here but it doesn’t seem like he wants to play ball and doesn’t even want to go to New York and Las Vegas being the neutral venue, when you can drive from LA to Vegas. He’s being a bit unrealistic now but he’s the champion now so we might have to do it.”
Conlan won an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and, after he was controversially eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, he signed with American promoter Top Rank. All of Conlan’s pro fights have been in the United States with the exception of one appearance on a Manny Pacquiao undercard in Australia, but he is due to fight Brazilian Adeilson Dos Santos at the SSE Arena in Belfast on June 30 on a card that will be streamed live in the United States on ESPN+.